Exactly one year and one day ago Pushkar Mullauer was forced to retire from the 3100 mile race. After running for over 47 days he had covered an extraordinary number of miles, 2289. He had come however to that painful point in which it was clear that it was just going to be impossible for him to reach his goal. He said at the time, “I feel inwardly I did my best. I did everything I knew. I am happy. I will come back.” Today his long journey will at last be over. In less than 3 hours he will complete the final 16 miles and become the 7th finisher in this year’s race.
He is also wearing a red shirt today that is a replica of those of worn by the Swiss National soccer team who played so well in the World Cup in 2006. He has never put this shirt on before and today he is wearing it in honour of his beloved country. He says, “I am actually not a fan who buys a shirt of a football team, but that year was kind of special. It was unbelievable oneness. Everyone fought for the others. No ego thing. At that time I was living with a friend and he inspired me to print something on the back. For me it was sure that I don’t write my name. Then somehow I got the inspiration for Joy Guru and 27.” It was in this way Pushkar felt that one day he would be able to honour both his late spiritual teacher and Switzerland at the same time.
picture courtesy of mahoney22
So he placed it in a special place waiting patiently for the exact right appropriate moment in which to wear it. He says of last year, “unfortunately it stood untouched. It also gave me encouragement just to see it. Today it is not my victory. For me it symbolizes oneness and victory. The divine victory.”
On the list of great Swiss sports stars Pushkar probably does not even rank. The whole world knows of the victories of Roger Federer who is said to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Today Pushkar will set a mark for the 3100 mile race that none from his country has ever done before. The Swiss media will probably never even hear what he has done here in New York, but his friends back home in Zurich will surely celebrate his achievement. And even though he is no longer physically present, the one whose name is upon the shirt, would surely be divinely proud of Pushkar as well.
Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 22 by Sri Chinmoy
The scoreboard tells the story today. There are a few celebratory balloons still left over from yesterday when there was nearly a traffic jam of 3 finishers in close succession. There is a bit of crowding in the runners’ area but this will last just a few hours more until Pushkar finishes. At that time the course will feel very open to the 4 runners who are still left.
Pushkar moves swiftly from the very moment the start is called. It is a pace he will maintain in the less than 3 hours he has left to run. It will be something like 9 laps an hour and he will surprise even the race directors with how fast he covers the distance.
For most of the race he tried not to concentrate on his laps or mileage. Trying instead just to focus on the moment. In practical terms he envisioned for himself each day as three individual segments. When he did that he says, “then everything was fine. Sahishnu told me the night before yesterday, wow 147 laps to go. Then somehow I realized, it is not so far, somehow any more. Now I am here.”
He did not like to do a continuous inventory of his progress. It was only when Sahishnu told him that it became at last more manageable for him mentally. For him it was just too difficult to think of 4 days to go, or even 300 miles. He says when people think of the runners here they do not consider often how difficult it is to run 300 miles. By itself alone he says, “If I tell anyone 300 miles they will say O God, 300 is so much. This is the reason I had to throw out this thought. About thinking, 4 days to go.” When he removed that mental distraction he said, “everything was fine. I was happy.”
His real strategy was just simply to run all day long, from morning until the evening. “You give your best. Here and there is pain. You just try and meditate and be in your heart. Run with joy.” He feels that most of the time he was successfully able to do this and was grateful for this experience.
“On the one hand last year I was here and I started the journey. I was convinced I could reach the goal. On the other hand the race this year is really almost 180 degrees opposite.” He felt much more intensity right from the very start. He says it was obvious, “it was like no joke. I felt it. I knew I could reach it, I knew it.” He mentions a time where at one point he feels he was no longer even in his body consciousness. “It was just so intense.” He describe that at that moment he felt he had become his soul, with all its determination and willpower operating in and through him.
He also feels that he was unrealistic in his expectations last year. He had started out very strong at the beginning but gradually fell further and further behind. He says that this year, “I live almost all the time in this…humility. I like really staying on the ground.” He also echoes the sentiments of many runners who describe the experience of running the race as, “This is somehow the real life. Afterwards I don’t know. Right now I know what I have to do.”
He also received lots of support and messages from back home. “One brother friend of mine, I got two pages every second day. One page was poems and the other was jokes and stories. So nice, it helped me tremendously. You feel you are not alone. For me I am not running for myself. I feel like it is a oneness project. Okay I am the guy who does it physically but I get support from Zurich. For me it is very nice actually. It is expanding the whole thing.” He feels that any time anyone thinks about the race or one of the runners they become part of it.
He feels that the race has changed him but that it is in inner ways that are difficult to describe. He feels that his experience here helps him sort out priorities in his life. “You see more of what is important and what is not important.” He says the main thing he learned from last year was the importance of simplicity. Both in his life and his dealings with the world. He hopes for this experience only expand in his life.
Right now he is not certain if he will return next year. He says, “on one hand I hope it is not the last race. I feel like it is the greatest blessing in one lifetime that I could come to the starting line here and reach the goal.” Before he runs off he repeats this phrase, “My Lord my heart is all gratitude to you.”
Pushkar finishes the race for the first time. His time is 49 days, 2 hours, 57 minutes, and 3 seconds. His pace is 63.11 miles a day. He has come in 7th this year and he is in 16th place in the history of the race. And yes, he is the Swiss Champion.
Is always precarious.
Is always prosperous.
Excerpt from The Golden Boat, Part 19 by Sri Chinmoy.